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How do replacement windows improve my cottage’s value?

If you are preparing your cottage or home for sale and looking to increase property value, there are a wide range of things you can do. Among the most simple, with a great benefit, is replacing the windows of your home. As one of the most prominent features of your home, both from afar and up close, new windows will draw in potential buyers and have them encouraged by the apparent upkeep. Replacing windows, without a doubt, helps to improve your property value.  

Increase your curb and lake appeal
The increase in property value is the biggest benefit of replacing windows on your home. However, there is also an undeniable boost to the aesthetic, which can’t be understated. From a real estate perspective, old windows can be off putting because of the potential replacement cost once the home is purchased. 

Darren Robinson, a realtor in Barrie, Ontario, calls blemishes that come with old windows potential bargaining chips for buyers. What could be thought of as just splintered paint around the window or chipped glass is also a reason, from the buyer’s perspective, for a lower price. As Robinson puts it, there are renovations that will sparkle and shine but won’t give you a good return on your dollar. Something like a window replacement, however, will add to the value of your home while giving it a refreshed look. 

Save in the short and long-term 
Even the aesthetic changes lead back to the most important reason to have replacement windows: saving money and improving your property value is the greatest end result of new windows. To replace your old windows with new, more energy-efficient ones, will help to lower your home’s cooling and heating costs. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates added costs of air leaks in windows to be 10-20 percent per bill.

According to Remodeling Magazine, replacing your existing windows with more energy-efficient ones will not only attract future buyers but give you a 75-80 percent return on your investment. In 2020, HomeLight’s Top Agent Insights Survey found that figure to be even higher at 80 percent.

The National Bank of Canada echoes that return on investment figure in its list of best renovations to increase your property value, adding that “municipalities and the government often offer financial assistance and tax credits to lower a part of the initial costs.” Not only will you see short-term gains in the form of lowered heating and cooling costs and a high return on investment, but potential breaks in the medium- and long-term with financial assistance and tax credits. 

Bottom line
If you are considering selling your home, taking steps to increase property value is a normal process. Replacing old windows with new ones is a relatively simple and massively beneficial step to take. In the short-term, you will see the gains of lowered monthly costs. In the long-term, those savings add up, aiding a sizable return on investment. The improved look of your home will help to draw potential buyers in and should see the investment you made pay off even further. It’s that simple: replace your windows, enjoy the subsequent savings, and watch your property value increase.

How to Clean Your Windows Before Winter – and in the Middle of Winter

The days of warm weather are behind us and soon, the snow will arrive. Before the cold weather arrives, get out and clean your windows. That way, you can avoid staring out at cobwebs all winter long and, more importantly, avoid working in the cold! If cleaning outside windows is still on your to-do list before winter, here are some suggestions. 

Start with the screens
Getting the easiest job out of the way is a great way to start. Cleaning dusty window screens doesn’t need to be challenging. Plus, it can be done inside or out. Popping the screen out and hosing it down outside is a simple, quick way to remove grime and dust. If it isn’t an option to take it outside, you can clean it in place, too. Just soak a microfibre cloth in a mix of water and vinegar and gently wipe down the screen.

Take care of the windows
With the screens done, it’s time to move onto the windows. The same mixture of one-part water and one-part vinegar used for screens can be used on your windows. Just soak a standard mop, preferably with a microfibre head, in your mixture and scrub away. Once the dirt and dust are gone, apply a streak-free window cleaner. Once it’s all dry, it’ll look brand new. You’ll be thrilled with the added natural sunlight beaming through after the job is done. 

Cleaning in winter
Sometimes, jobs and time get away from us. If winter arrives and you haven’t gotten to your windows yet, that’s OK. Even if you gave them a clean in the fall, the dirt left from melting snow may force you to clean them again. It’s still a job that can be done, and is worth doing, amid the cold and snow. You may just have to switch up your tactics. 

Prepare the right way
There are a couple of things to consider before choosing to clean windows in the winter. Not only is the day itself important, but the time of day too. Look ahead in the forecast and find a day with calm conditions. Working outside with blowing wind isn’t ideal in any season and certainly not in winter. Then, figure out when in the day the windows that need to be cleaned are in the shade. Cleaning in the shade will prevent annoying streaks. 

Sorting out the timing of your cleaning is a crucial part of the preparation process. But preparing the windows is absolutely vital. Give your windows a quick inspection and clean out any dirt that has worked its way into the window track or grooves of the windows. Then, prep your solution. Hot water on cold windows is never a good idea since it will freeze more quickly. One-part slightly warm water to one part of vinegar is the perfect winter window cleaning mix. 

Adding a splash of windshield wiper fluid to your solution can stop it from freezing if you are working in very cold temperatures. 

And now, to the cleaning! 
With your windows and solution prepped, you’re all set to clean! Following the same process, while being mindful of water temperatures, is perfect. Just soak a microfibre cloth (instead of a mop) and scrub in circular motions, avoiding streaks. A streak-free cleaner, applied afterward, will have your windows looking good as new.  If your windows are a bit run-down even after a good scrub, Muskoka Window and Door Centre has the solution. We even replace windows in the middle of the winter. Get in touch with us today for an estimate.

Should I Do My Muskoka Cottage Renovation Myself or Hire a Contractor?

Before seeking out a professional contractor, it’s important to ask the question: can I do this job myself? Some jobs are best left to professionals, such as window and door installation or replacement. However, there are others you may be able to easily manage on your own – even if you don’t consider yourself all that handy. If you are a new cottage owner, it may be hard to tell the difference between the two. 
 
What jobs are best left to contractors?
If there is a job you need to have done, it’s important to plan ahead – even if you won’t be the one doing it. With a shortage of contractors in the area during peak season, getting the job lined up in advance is crucial. For example, if you have a job you want done in the late spring or summer, reach out for an estimate during the winter – March at the latest. That way, you don’t need to worry about nobody being available when you need them. 
 
Whether it’s upgrading an electrical panel or rewiring an appliance, don’t try to do most electrical jobs yourself. While you may be fine with wiring a light switch or a ceiling fan, any larger-scale electrical job should be avoided by a homeowner. For the most part, if electricity is involved, don’t take the risk and hire a professional. Similarly, routine maintenance of major items, such as septic tanks, furnaces, or water systems, can be handled on your own. If they require replacing, a contractor is best suited to handle it. 
 
If the job requires building permits or an inspection, let a local contractor take care of it. Even if the task itself doesn’t seem too large, a contractor based in Muskoka will know just what a local inspector and/or municipality is looking for. By leaving those tasks to the pros, every step will be easier and much more stress-free. 
 
Most window and door replacement or installation work, too, is best left to professionals. Simple tasks, such as replacing a pane of glass or putting in a new screen door can be done on your own. However, anytime the job requires cutting into a wall or similarly large changes, you should be hiring someone to do it who has done it before – preferably for many years. 
 
The rest you can usually do yourself 
While there are certainly jobs you should avoid taking up on your own, there are plenty more you can do yourself! Though it depends just how adept you are, almost anything else besides the jobs we’ve listed above can be handled on your own if you have the time and the inclination. 
 
However, before undergoing any job yourself, be sure to research local noise bylaws. A noise complaint or worse, a fine, will be unavoidable if you are starting up engines, hammers, or chainsaws before or after the local bylaws allow. On a quiet lake, the noise is going to travel, and your neighbors won’t appreciate being woken up to the sound of construction work on a daily basis. There are many unwritten rules in cottage country too – one of which is that most people try to get major construction work out of the way in spring or fall so everyone on the lake can enjoy a peaceful summer. Of course if you have a job that needs to get done, it has to get done, but look up the noise bylaws and give your neighbours a heads up. 
 
Remember to be careful not to take on too much. You are at the cottage to relax and enjoy yourself. Save time to get that rest and relaxation you deserve!